Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Books of 2012

Here is a link to prior years' posts on BOOKS

Well it was a record year for me. 77 books read in 2012. Mainly because I cut back on my business demands (gulp) and jumped into the unknown. Reading so voraciously whets my appetite for writing. And vice-versa. Even as a small child my visits to the library were the hightlights of my week. I'm still in paper mode with books, though I do have an E-Reader. I don't think paper books will ever be of the past and I believe that publishers are making books more worthy and by that I mean they are including more beautiful endpapers and fancier editions.

Here's the list of 2012 reads in order of my reading them, I have highlit the very best:

Skin Room - Sara Tilley
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (BC) - Helen Simonson***
The Other Hand - Chris Cleave*****
A World Elsewhere - Wayne Johnston**Not up to his usual standards
The Virgin Cure - Ami McKay*****
All He Ever Wanted - Anita Shreve*****
February - Lisa Moore(skimmed as re-read for BC-1/2)*****
Exit Lines - Joan Barfoot***
A Cold Day for Murder - Dana Stabenow**
Bay of Spirits - Farley Mowat*****Newfoundland,(thanks, Toddy!) beautifully told
Springfield Place - S.A. McCormick (won't rate, she's a friend)
Afterimage - Helen Humphreys*****beautiful
The Weight of Water - Anita Shreve****
Light on Snow - Anita Shreve*****one of her best
At Home In France - Ann Barry*****oh I hated leaving this one
Sea Glass - Anita Shreve***
Pagan Babies - Elmore Leonard*
The Way We Were - Marcia Willett***
Galore - Michael Crummey
Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton*****Oh to write like this!
Memories of Peter's River - Bride Martin (a friend: not rating)
Swimmer in the Secret Sea - William Kotzwinkle*****short, powerful
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley(BC)****
The Best of Bernard MacLaverty - Bernard MacLaverty***
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain(BC)****
Heft - Liz Moore***** one of the best.ever.
The Transit of Venus - Shirley Hazzard*****
Grandmother's Footsteps - Carol Smith****excellent thriller, meaningless title
The Fault in our Stars - John Green*****One of the best
Sense of Wonder - Ann Patchett(BC)**
Thin Ice - Marsha Qualey***
Dressing Up for the Carnival - Carol Shields (again)***
Lies of Silence - Brian Moore*****Heart stopping, breathtaking
Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate Dicamillo*****beautiful
The Sleeping Beauty - Elizabeth Taylor *** A reissue, I love this writer
Mistaken - Neil Jordan**** (thanks Helen!)
The Collected Stories - John McGahern*****
Good to a Fault - Marion Endicott(BC)**** ( a little too long)
Pictures of You - Caroline Leavitt**** (dragged at end)
Black Juice - Margo Lanagan*bleurgh
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler*****(wow!)
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls***
Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts****
The Best Laid Plans - Terry Fallis****polical humour at its best
Still Missing - Chevy Stevens*****compulsive,unputdownable
Savoury on the Tongue - Anthology**nothing to chew on
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern*what a painful slog with no payoff
Lullabies for Little Criminals - Heather O'Neill****
Broken Harbour - Tana French****
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn*****
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon*****
Lost in Translation - Eva Hoffman****
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach***
Long Gone - Alafair Burke****
The Hijacking of Cassie Peters - Mary Stanley***
Beyond Belief - Liam Fay***
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas(BC)*
The Emigrants - W.G. Sebald*****
The Famished Lover - Alan Cumyn*****
Seating Arrangements - Maggie Shipstead****
Ghostwritten - David Mitchell*****
Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian(BC)0 gack!
Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens****
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Broken Shore - Peter Temple****1/2
Winter Garden - Kristin Hannah(BC)****
The Calling - Inger Ash Wolfe****1/2
A Curious Dream - Kate Pullinger****
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See(BC)*****recommend
Truth - Peter Temple****
Christine Falls - Benjamin Black***
Guide to the Aran Islands - J.M. Synge
Still Life - Louise Penny***
The Taken - Inger Ash Wolfe***1/2
Consolation - Michael Redhill*****
The Rings of Saturn - W. G. Sebald*****
Eager to Please - Julie Parsons****
The Edible Woman - Margaret Attwood (again)*****

Some were re-reads - Wharton, Attwood - and worth it. Attwood writing of 1969 and perfect housewives I saw in the fresh light of 2012 and found myself nodding at how brilliantly she captures the interior rebellion of a woman caught sacrificing her spirit and not knowing it was sacrifice. Wharton, well because I think it's one of the most perfect stories ever written.

W.G. Sebald - all I can say if you haven't read him, please do. It is like sitting down with him and listening to him riff off on many topics.

Michael Redhill and his alter ego Inger Ash Wolfe were a fresh discovery. I have more on order.

Gone Girl and Still Missing were unputdownable crime novels.

Heft by Liz Moore was an incredible first novel. All about a huge man trapped in his own body. She actually wrote back to me when I sent her a fan rave.

Barry's At Home in France was also one of those books which held me in rural France and wouldn't let me go.

So there you have it. My year in books. Eclectic? Yeah, that's me alright.


  1. Great list. I so wish I had that kind of time! But I have upped my goal for the year.

  2. SAW:

    Normally I've done about 1 a week but with the decision to let go of (a) my dayjob and (b) my daily newspaper and no teevee here, it opened up my reading time a bit more. I'm very pleased.


  3. I've just ordered your 11 most highly recommended from the Wadena library (my local). Looking forward to some satisfying reading. Thank you!

  4. Ah SG:
    I do hope you enjoy, and that our tastes are similar!
    let me know!

  5. Some of the books on your list are n my bookcase and the others I would love to order if only I would know for sure I would read them. That has been such a problem for the past year, to find the curiosity within me to want to read and finish a whole book. I hope it comes back and that a good enough novel will do it. My daughter gave me two books for Christmas and I am going to read them on the airplane. That is my intention anyway. :)

  6. This will be a good reading reference list. Have a book Christmas gift card to spend. Also, think an ebook may be in my future as convenient for travel. Debating between Nook and Kindle, but not sure which one I still have so many hardbacks and paperbacks, mostly nonfiction, to read. But have been in a mood for memoir and fiction recently.

    Yes, a weekly trip to the library was a highlight in my life throughout my elementary school years when we lived in town and I could access readily.

  7. Irene:
    I hope the spark ignites for you again. I know I went through a dry period like that a few years back and for some reason, reading The New Yorker magazine (which I love, btw) lit me up again.
    It hasn't ceased since.

  8. Joared:
    I read some non-fiction too but find escapism into a good novel/crime thriller does me a power of good!

  9. As always, I have to stand back in amazement at your prodigious reading talent!

    I shall keep a note of a few of these for my own puny needs - thank you for the recommendations.

    I'll link to this post from mine at the weekend, too, WWW - and append my own dismally short list. :-)

  10. T:
    Well I live alone and that really helps as I decide when and where I read. I bring a book everywhere, whereas when I am companioned I don't.

    So don't feel too bad T. I have the freedom and you have other commitments.


  11. Lots of great recommendations. Thanks.

  12. You're welcome Hattie, I hope you enjoy them as I did!


  13. Hmmmm,that works out to be 0.2109589 books read in a day.

  14. Hey GFB:
    thanks for that piece of info, 20% of a book in a day is pretty damn good!
    What's your stat?

  15. Actually its not 20%
    Notice the zero and the point that precedes the 21 which makes it 2.1%.:)

    I don't know what my stat would be.Thanks for the question. I will look it up on my Kindle

  16. Acksherly, GFB, recheck your calc. My calc say I read 21% of a book in a day ergo I read 1 book every 5 days approx, which is 77 a year.



  17. DRAT!! You are Ri**t WWW. My 9 year old grandson is gonna give me a math tutorial starting tomorrow.:)
    In in 2012 I read 23 books mostly last winter when I was hors de combat with the leg.I read almost nothing in the Summer and in the Spring and Fall I read a few.

  18. have you got a list, GFB? Maybe you could post what you read with comments, I know you have an affinity for history.


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